Monday, December 05, 2005

12/05 room5204

In today's class, I will hand back your most recent papers on Sarah Connor and the Terminator films. I want you to read the comments, we will be using them in our conversation about Tank Girl. My hope is we will spend about 30-40minutes on Tank Girl, but be warned, if there is no participation, we will spend longer (meaning less time to work on your presentations).

Tank Girl:
I hope our conversation will be weighty, useful, and to the point and based on your comments in your papers, I can see that you are quite capable of finding and discussing interesting, salient issues in the films. Now I would like to see you share these ideas in class. The other choice is a short writing. I will make this clear. If you have nothing to say in class, you will have a writing assignment about this film. Period. End of discussion. With that not-so-subtle threat hanging there, let me assure you that this is not a discussion where there is a 'right' answer. There is however, a 'wrong' answer -- silence and lack of effort which to me are equated and similar. You have had time to think about it, you have had time to discuss it, now is a chance to share your ideas. If you won't (I don't say can't since most of you show the ability in writing) you will write about it. Some of the issues I want us to think about in class are to consider more fully:
  • The role of the Tank in this film. I asked Friday 'what is the tank?' It is a symbol but a symbol of what?
  • The role of Rebecca and her qualities -- masculine, feminine, or 'other.' (and what the heck does 'other' mean.
  • The motivation for Rebecca and the similarities/differences between her motivation and that of other women in films we have watched.
  • The character off Kesslee. How would you describe him? How long did it take you to figure out he was the bad guy?
  • This film we have viewed during this unit should highlight the differences between sex (male or female) and gender. Can you explain these terms, how they are connected as well as how they are different?
Tomorrow we will hopefully finish three presentations. As you should know, each presentation should take between 15-20 minutes and should inform the class about the subject your group has chosen, what you were looking to find, what you found and why it is relevant/important to study. I would like to have each person in the group add to the presentation. Furthermore audience (listeners) you have a job as well. Your job is to comment on the presentation, asking questions, sharing your thoughts, your feelings your 'take' or misunderstandings of the presentation/subject/etc. Participation is very important, it will keep you more awake and alert as well as prepare you for the assessment (read: test) on your retention of information from these presentations. So suggestion to audience: take notes, and ask questions. For further incentive, I grade you individually on:
  1. your group's content and if you met the requirements of the assignment (50%)
  2. your contribution to your group's presentation and (25%)
  3. if you comment during at least one other presentation per day. (25%)
Groups should feel free to use whatever visual aides they desire: we will present in the CompLabs on Wed. and on Tues., you can use my computer to present, or access websites if you wish. Send the infor to yourself by email, we will access it in class. You might also consider handouts or posters as well. Anything to help get your information across to your audience.

Additionally, remember if you don't speak in your group's presentation (you miss the presentation, are shy, or have nothing to add, I will require you to write a 2-3 page paper (due Friday 12/09) on your topic in general, and specifically what you found during your research. This is not a simple recital of your groups' presentation but what you personally found. Much easier to participate, I would think.

Friday's Film:
Finally, I want to offer you a choice of films for this Friday, give you a chance to think about, research and hopefully develop an opinion on which we should watch. Here they are, Contact (1997) or The Brother from Another Planet (1984). These two films are very different in style and content. One is a big-budget film with a super-star female lead (Jodi Foster) the other is an Independent Film with less-well known (although he was in Terminator2) black actor (Joe Morton) as the lead character. Both are excellent films, (153 & 108) and either would make for a good final film for the unit. We will make a decision on our next film by Wednesday.

Feel free to post comments, ask questions and generally post information you have found on these films and your recommendation on which to watch (and why) on this blog.


At 7/12/05 11:29, Blogger erikomatsumura said...

"Contact" was directed by Robert Zemeckis. This movie describes one woman's life. Her name is Ellie Arroway and she has experienced difficult situation since she was a chaild. For example, both her parents died when she was young. She is intersted in aliens very much. On the other hand, "The Brother from Another Planet" was directed by John Sayles. This story is about the alien who is looks like black man. The brother is this alien. Suddenly, he landed on the Earth in New York city and he tris to contact with people in the city, but two hunters from alien's planet come and try to catch the alien.
Both movies seem to be interes ting but, I want to watch "Contact" because in this movie, figure of strong women's life is described according to my research. She is lonely in her whole life and she never gives up with her dream. I was fascinated by these parts.

At 7/12/05 11:57, Blogger scott-o said...

Hi Eriko, thanks for writing. Your reasoning is very clear and convincing, and I appreciate you taking the time to write.

I agree, the story in Contact is very interesting and I really enjoyed the film when I saw it again for the second time ever Monday night. The theme covers a very intersting, important topic in AMerica and still fits nicely into our current unit. A good story and a thoughtful film, very unlike the last few SF films we have used in class. Still, I don't want you to discount The Brother from Another Planet though since this film is also very good and interesting, and kind of funny too. Furthermore, Brother is very different from teh films we have seen thus far -- it depicts a part of society that is not often discussed or shown in SF films and it was directed by one of the best socially concious directors in America today. Again, both of these films are worth watching and I will be proud to show either of them, and seriously wish I had time to show both!

The Top 25 Science Fiction Movies
1. Blade Runner (1982)
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
3. The Matrix (1999)
4. Alien (1979)
5. The Terminator (1984)
6. Contact (1997)
7. The Thing (1982)
8. Sleeper (1973)
9. Dr. Strangelove (1964)
10. Star Wars (1977)
11. Frankenstein (1931)
12. Gattaca (1997)
13. The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951)
14. Metropolis (1926)
15. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
16. Aliens (1986)
17. Forbidden Planet (1956)
18. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
19. The Empire Strikes Back (1981)
20. Brazil (1985)
21. The Fly (1986)
22. The Abyss (1989)
23. 12 Monkeys (1995)
24. Galaxy Quest (1999)
25. Donnie Darko (2001)

At 7/12/05 12:58, Blogger YukaMori said...

Contact is based on the novel whose author is Carl Sagan and it is directed by Robert Zemeckis. The main character of the film is a radio astronomer Dr. Eleanor Ellie Arroway. One day, she recieves a message from aliens and contacts with them.
The Brother from Another Planet is directed by John Sayles. The main character of the film is an alien space pilot the Brother. He crashes his space ship into the earth. He knows difficulties of people with the same skin color as his through trying to communicate with people in Harlem.
I want to watch The Brother from Another Planet. The biggest reasons are that the film seems to be related with racism and I do not know so much about it. Then, I wonder how the Brother communicate with people in Harlem and whether he uses English.

At 7/12/05 13:37, Blogger Mai Hayashi said...

I want to watch "The Brother from Another Planet." According to my research, "Contact" is about a woman who can understand the message from another planet and people around her try to investigate and contact with the planet. I read some comments about this movie, and in the comment, this film has connection with religion, so I thought it is a little complicated to understand the film. On the other hand, "The Brother from Another Planet" is about an alien who comes from another planet and tries to adapt to this world, and runs away from other aliens. I think this story seems to be interesting. Also The Brother is black, and I think this has reason, but I don't know why. So, I want to look for the reason by watching this film.

At 7/12/05 17:22, Blogger yoheibig said...


This movie is about one woman who lost their parents. She grew up as independent and strong woman. She doesn't depend on god. And it seems interesting about science vs religion. She research about space and doesn't believe in god. She was asked about god. I want to know how and what she will react and story will develop, and how religion influence independent woman. In our class, we didn't talk about religion so much, so it's good time to discuss and share about god and religion.

"Brother from Another Planet" seems interesting. It will include topic of ethnicity, because main character is black and alien. We can know about specific view on black people and also wide view on alien which represents different people.

Both movies will be good. but I vote on "Contact".

At 7/12/05 17:41, Blogger seiji ohashi said...

I want to watch The Brother from Another Planet because this movie is concerned with color of skin and difficulty of adapting to surrounding. I think this movie can be usefull in Stephen class too, and more familiar to us. on the other hand, Contact is about woman who received message from alien. this movie sound interesting but I think Brother is more interesting.

At 7/12/05 18:05, Blogger megumi_n said...

I want to watch "Contact" because many viewers admired that acters did good performance and this film is close to perfect SF film.
In this film, woman is main character. Ellie spend a lot of time searching forextraterminal intelligence, but Dr.Drumlin make s fool of her research and shut down it. Later, she find message of alien. After that, the government and Dr.Drumlin intervene in her discovery. In the end of story, she is ridiculed by people again, though she can contact with alien. However, she receives a government and continues her research there in the ending. This film describe women are in weaker position than men. It also describes that her success and troubles about society's reaction againct her. I think it is little complicated, but it is interesting.

At 7/12/05 20:02, Blogger yamayu0329 said...

Yuka Yamashita
" Contact" please.
This film is 6 th best sf film and the actors and actoress are admired because of their great performance.
I think the title of the film means the ending of the film. Finally, she can "CONTACT" with alien.
Anyway, I think new film is more interesting and developed according of my experience.

At 7/12/05 20:51, Blogger kumi_n said...

I want to see Contact.
The film is that an astronomer Dr. Ellie recieves a messege from Alien. She decodes the messege, and it tells a design for a machine which is used for sending a person to the space. Ellie take the machine, but her experience is not believed by others. However, she insist on her opinion.
I think that the story of this film is more complicated than that of Brother from Another Planet because the story is related to a religion. However, in this film, a woman can take the machine and her resolute attitude is finally accepted by many people. I'm interested in her strong behavior, so I choose Contact.

At 7/12/05 22:06, Blogger RieOkada said...

I want to watch Brother from Another Planet because at first I'm interested in this title. I want to know that this title mean. When I looked the site of this movie, a lot of reviewers gives high evaluation in this movie so I can expect. I'm also interested in the directer because this directer whose name is John Sayles appear in this movie. It is rare thing that the directer appear his film so I'm looking for his performance. If I can't watch this film in the class, I'll watch this in private.

At 7/12/05 22:45, Blogger KaoriFujiwara said...

I want to watch "The Brother from Another Planet" because Synopsis says "Seemingly a comedy, this film is actually a dramatic essay on racism, drug abuse, and corporate greed." I want to watch a funny movie. Also, I want to know problems that American society has, especially about racism to black people.

At 7/12/05 22:52, Blogger haruna sato said...

I want to watch The Brother From Another Planet.
The "brother" is an alien looking like black guy. He strays into Harlem, and he cannot speak human's language, but gradually gets familiar with people in the town. However, hunters from another planet who are trying to catch "brother" chases him, but then some black people saves him. In fact, those black people are also from another planet like "brother". So I'd like to figure out that why those aliens looking like black guy are supposed to reach the town "Harlem".

At 7/12/05 23:52, Blogger AyumiShingu said...

I'm still wondering which is better and interenting. This is because when I researched these sites, I found that one person critizm that Conntact is terreble story. But when I found the other one and read the plot, I did not feel it is interesting. Therefore, I'm wondering....
But, I think the criticism is depended on each person and I don't want to watch the brother..., so I want to watch Conntact.

At 8/12/05 00:10, Blogger chika0306 said...

I want to watch Cpntact.Because this movie is shot by famous Academy award director. This film is one of the best SF move ranked 6th. So I want to watch the film. In this film, woman is very active, so I think we can watch the film from gender perspective.

At 8/12/05 01:01, Blogger chihirosaito said...

I want to watch "Contact." one reason is because in "Brother from Another Planet" does not have a sabtitle. It is a little difficult for us to understand about the story well. Another reason is that alians appears or they are used in the film. We have never watched a movie which show alians from space. That is why I want to watch this one.

At 8/12/05 01:15, Blogger Eriko Minami said...

This is Eriko. And I would like to watch Contact. According to my resarch, this movie is about astronomy. And this movie's making progress, the staff of "Forestganp" joined to film. "Forestgump" won Academy Aword before, so it's also interesting point, I think.

At 8/12/05 01:48, Blogger Mai Ogata said...

Hello, this is Mai O.
I want to watch "Contact."
One reason is this--When I watched trailer of this film, it seems this movie is little bit difficult to understand, but I looked at one comment about this, and found that this film is not so hard to know. It says this story goes slowly. And also, I want to watch with subtitle.

At 8/12/05 03:45, Blogger Matsutaku said...

I want to watch "Contact". In review of it I found there are many connections with space used beautiful CG. It is recent movie so the story might be dificult to understand like "Gattaca" but I want to watch it carefully to look at the connection between message and graphic.

At 8/12/05 12:07, Blogger Megumi Kakimoto said...

I'd like to watch "Contact."
That is because "Contact" is a big-budget film. I guess big-badget films have higher quality images than small-budget films. Of course, I know it is not always true, but I'd like to watch beautiful and clear images. In addition, films with famous actors or actresses are more enjoyable, I think.

At 8/12/05 16:08, Blogger KanaMiyazaki said...

I am so sorry for being late to vote....
I prefer to watch "The Brother form Another Planet." When I saw the picture of this movie, I noticed the main character is black man. We have not ever watched such film in class, so I am very interested in the story. Recentry the main characters of the films we watched in class were almost women, so I want to see man protagonist in a film.

At 8/12/05 22:36, Blogger scott-o said...

20 of you voted, 12 for Contact 8 for The Brother from Another Planet. We will watch the former. It is a long film so I will start precisely when the class bell rings, so please try to come a few minutes early. I will give you a handout. I am probably going to cut out a couple of the more character developing scenes... they just enhance the love interest that, while fun ( I guess) are not really necessary for the plot. If I cut this short sequence, we can watch until a major turning point in the film before the bell sounds. I will run the film until the end, but it is over two hours, so if you have to leave you are free to do so. If you must leave early, I encourage you to finish the film over the weekend, along with your research film (Unit4 assignment). Before you leave class, please remember to turn in your short (like sentence or two) writing on yoru proposed reseach direction for your Unit4 assignment. I will get them back to you with comments on Monday.

At 8/12/05 23:51, Blogger Mika said...

I'm sorry for being late. Though I won't be counted in, I vote.
I prefer "The Brother from Another Planet" to "Contact."
One reason is that I found an opinion about "Contact" that it is difficult to describe something nobody have ever seen, so the movie is less reality.
Another reason is that "The Brother from Another Planet" connects with racism. We haven't watch movies about racism, so I think that it'll be good idea to watch "The Brother from Another Planet"


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